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On the Revelation of William Bennett's Gambling Habit

by Calvin Trillin

Bill Bennett told a grateful nation,
'Be moral. Just resist temptation.'
By windbag airing of this thesis,
Bill Bennett got as rich as Croesus.
His preaching sold in wholesale lots,
While he dropped millions at the slots.
But here's a thought to ease his pains:
He only lost ill-gotten gains


William Bennett's Gambling: President Bush's Statement Announcing the Appointment of William J. Bennett as United States Slots Czar - WHITEHOUSE.ORG
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Please be seated. Today it is my pleasure and honor to announce the appointment of former Secretary of Education and Book of Virtues author William J. Bennett as the United States Slots Czar. In his role overseeing the Office of National High Roller's Protection Policy, Dr. Bennett will be launching a ferocious new offensive in America's War on the House Edge in both Indian and normal-people casinos throughout the land. Let's give him a warm Player's Club welcome.

Bad Bet by Bill Bennett
By Michael Kinsley
Washington Post
Bennett has been exposed as a humbug artist who ought to be pelted off the public stage if he lacks the decency to slink quietly away as he is constantly calling on others to do. Although it may be impossible for anyone famous to become permanently discredited in American culture (a Bennett-like point I agree with), Bennett clearly deserves that distinction.

Despising Virtue
The reasons Alter and Green went after William F. Bennett are clear: 1. Bennett is a high-profile Republican and supporter of the president; 2. He's at odds with the National Education Administration (NEA) from his stint as Education Secretary under Ronald Reagan and also for his K12 initiative which seeks to give parents and kids high-tech internet tools to succeed, thus threatening the NEA's current education monopoly; 3. He was U.S. Drug Czar and articulated boldly against the legalization of drugs; 4. He has promoted heterosexuality and pointed out the danger of the homosexual life; and most recently 5. He has blasted the anti-freedom critics of our war with Iraq with clear, common-sense observations: "Those who march against the U.S. and the U.K. today, those who condemn Bush and Blair and remain silent when it comes to Hussein, are in league with the wolf's view that the shepherds are destroying liberty."

William Bennett was simply too rational, too articulate, too moral, for liberals to take. And they blew.

Highlights & Quotes
William Bennett, a self-appointed moral compass for America, has been a key right-wing player for decades. He is the founder of a string of advocacy groups that promote conservative social policies and hawkish foreign policies, including Americans For Victory over Terrorism and Empower America.

K12 - About Us
William J. Bennett, along with other leaders who are passionate about education, founded K12 in 1999. The goal was to create an excellent, traditional program in education-one that would empower parents to be effective teachers and empower students to explore the world around them thoughtfully.

Bennett to Offer K-12 Education Over Internet
Friday, Dec. 29, 2000
Former U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett has begun an online private school for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

The school is designed to target a growing market of home-educated children. It has already drawn criticism from the leftist American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation's largest teacher unions.

Bennett's school is being financed with $10 million from a group of investors that includes one-time junk bond king Michael Milken. The school will offer the "back to basics" education that Bennett has long espoused, such as phonics, mathematics and civics lessons.

Hey, Let's Put Those Kids to Work!
Grand pronouncements were the order of the day. Bennett chest-thumped that the school, imaginatively named K12, would enroll 100,000 students by 2005. The media trotted out their own big numbers, with the Wall Street Journal quoting the customary stats on the multi-billion-dollar value of the electronic-learning market ($6.9 billion, to be exact). Bennett's plan? To score a chunk of that market using home-schooled tykes. According to outlets, ground zero for the school's marketing will be Christian fundamentalists teaching their wee ones at home - a group warm to Bennett's own conservative ways. When K12 opens for business next fall - oops, we mean classes - its fees will range from $25 for skill tests to $2,000 for full lesson plans and software for a year, the AP reported. That's one-third of what public schools spend per pupil, Bennett bragged to reporters. How can it be so cheap? For one thing, there won't be any pesky teachers to pay. The Journal noted that K12 would do without teachers in the early grades except where required by state laws.

Vote on vouchers a virtual letdown<
The idea of virtual schools attracted momentum in Florida because of pressure on lawmakers to reduce class sizes and nudges from two companies prepared to profit. Bennett discussed the concept in a meeting with Gov. Jeb Bush about two years ago. A K12 executive came to Florida this spring to meet with state Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, who sees the $4.8-million project as a way for students to expand learning opportunities.

"We're here from the government, and we're here to help:"
California Virtual Academy(Using Bill Bennett's K12 Curriculum) 
The presentation looks very interesting until you realize that this is REAL life we're living. Trying to get it all done (the number of hours they require of a student), while allowing for vacations, occasional time off for "real life," etc., would be a definite challenge, especially for those who have large families. By Mary Leggewie.